Fabio Canino | Italy | News | Pope Benedict | Religion | Rome

Prayer, Porn, and Prada at the Vatican

The origin of the red Prada shoes is just one closely guarded secret surrounding the life of Pope Benedict XVI.

Poperedshoes_1Others, having to do with Italians and their relationship with the church, their families, and the closet are addressed in an article by Michael Joseph Gross which appears in the new issue of Out. Gross takes a look at Rome's past and present gay history and its relationship with that Catholic city-within-a-city, the Vatican, described to him by an American expat as "one of the most homophobic institutions in the world and probably the most gay institution in the world, outside of gay nightclubs."

Here's a brief but amusing excerpt. One of the folks Gross interviewed for the piece was Italy’s most popular gay TV personality, Fabio Canino (not to be confused with Fabio Cannavaro), who described a colorful lunch date he'd had at the Vatican:

"Fabio Canino says he received a mysterious invitation a few years ago to lunch at the Vatican with a cardinal. 'I walked in,' he remembers, 'and I thought the person in front of me was a drag queen, not a cardinal.' He flings his arms up in imitation and cries out, lisping, 'Hel-lo, sweetie!' The prelate, he says, eagerly dished his Vatican colleagues, referring to one black cardinal as 'Naomi' (after Naomi Campbell). As Canino tells the story, he called the cardinal a hypocrite and asked how, as a gay man, he could serve this homophobic institution. The cardinal looked at him across the lavish table where they sat and said, 'I have everything here.'

Before Canino left, the cardinal—like a politician, or a parent—told him to get in touch if he ever needed help. Some time later, when Canino produced a play in Rome, the production was stuck without a rehearsal space. Canino says he called the cardinal in desperation and was immediately granted the use of a room in the Vatican. He says the cardinal also arranged for the Vatican printing office to produce, for free, the souvenir script that was sold at the play to raise money for a local AIDS foundation.

The title of the play? Making Porn."

And it isn't just those in the lower ranks rumored to be gay; whispered about by gay Romans almost as much as the red shoes is Pope Benedict's relationship with his "personal secretary" Monsignor Georg Gänswein. After reading the piece it doesn't surprise me at all that the Pope hired Italian "gay icon" Serra Yilmaz to act as his translator on his recent trip to Turkey. Religious icons and gay icons seem to mix in Rome fairly fluidly.

When in Rome [out]

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  1. Why am I not surprised by this...

    Posted by: Robert In WeHo | Dec 14, 2006 11:18:11 AM

  2. This is no surprise. Man has been selling each other out since the dawn of time. If I had access to almost unlimited wealth and power, I would probably sell out too.

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 14, 2006 11:29:51 AM

  3. I'm not Catholic but I did bury myself in my religion when I was young, not necessarily trying to change my orientation, but rather run from it.

    I can see how easily the Catholic Church went from young men running from their orientation, to old men RUNNING the church, and still denouncing the life they tried to escape.

    It lends credence to my opinion that most of the world's homophobes are actually homos.

    Posted by: mark m | Dec 14, 2006 11:44:59 AM

  4. "Out of the way Naomi" ROFL that image is crackin' me up...

    My first thought was this is a bunch of b.s., it just seems so extraordinary to me. Why? Why are gay men selling each other out? The Evangelists, the RNC, clergy, Foley, Mehlman, even McGreevey -whom I lovingly call McSceevey, Haggart, etc etc. I suppose Bill Maher said it best when Larry King asked him why are the majority of the homophobes closeted gay men. "Cause, Larry, hating oneself is the greatest love of all." ...

    I was a little peeved about the whole "outing" of gays as I stated here a while ago that it was no ones business to out any one allegations about RNC chairman Mehlma). Now I take that back. If these people supposedly are closeted, know it, and make extreme efforts in making homophobic agenda's prime issues, f&^k 'em! I say out the bastards lol...

    ...and Mark M, thanks for getting my back in the other comments section =)

    Posted by: Cory | Dec 14, 2006 11:54:33 AM

  5. I think you mean Pope Benedict XVI, not the XIV. :)

    Posted by: John | Dec 14, 2006 11:54:47 AM

  6. hmmm, sorry, should have ... "any one (regarding allegations about RNC chairman Mehlman)."

    Posted by: Cory | Dec 14, 2006 11:56:10 AM

  7. Pope Benedick?

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 14, 2006 12:17:13 PM

  8. Oy gevalt...

    Thank G-d I'm Jewish.

    Posted by: LightningLad | Dec 14, 2006 12:34:57 PM

  9. Oh...'Lightinglad' don't give me that. I'm Jewish too. I know you want those Pradas...

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 14, 2006 12:38:14 PM

  10. If the church changed dogma and supported gay men then everyone would accuse them of being gay themselves, so their policy protects them from that in part. Think of it as a really big closet.

    Posted by: Anon | Dec 14, 2006 12:44:01 PM

  11. 'Anon', I half way agree with you. What the progressive Catholic church wants is the ability for Priests to marry. They believe that will take care of the 'tendency' for same-sex interaction. Another idea is for Sisters to be able to give Communion-not going to happen in our lifetime. So meanwhile men who have repressed homo feelings, and think the Church will save them keep signing up-to mediocre results.

    Posted by: Andrew | Dec 14, 2006 12:50:51 PM

  12. Well, Andrew, the following will do nothing at all to "take care of the 'tendency' for same-sex interaction". Mr. October specifically!


    Posted by: Aaron | Dec 14, 2006 1:01:22 PM

  13. In days of yore the church was a way out, for men who did not want to marry, as many did with joing the army. Now that is no longer the case, as is seen with the sharp drop in those joining the priesthood. My gay friends who went thru the seminary said that about half were gay, I'm sure it was much higher back in our dear Pope's day.

    He does look like a big old Queen. I guess the Devil does wear Prada.

    Posted by: pbnyc59 | Dec 14, 2006 1:02:21 PM

  14. Aaron, Mr. prelate for October is really cute, but I could never marry him because I'm Jewish too! My parents would have a fit. "A shagitz? You're marrying a shagitz?"

    Posted by: dave | Dec 14, 2006 1:08:53 PM

  15. "shagitz" or " la shicksa"? ;-)

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Dec 14, 2006 2:15:52 PM

  16. The Catholic Church says that gay 'orientation' is acceptable, but practicing homosexualty is not. It also says that sex (for straight people) outside of marriage is unacceptable....is it possible that this Pope is a very style conscious man or perhaps even a non-practicing gay man?? Personally I don't care. Why is it hugely taboo to be anti-semitic but perfectly acceptable to bash the Pope???

    Posted by: rob | Dec 14, 2006 2:30:52 PM

  17. "Religious icons and gay icons seem to mix in Rome fairly fluidly."

    Posted by: Anon | Dec 14, 2006 3:12:43 PM

  18. Sheesh, even the catholic church is doing a hot calendar now.
    I totally buy the gay cardinal story after seeing this..

    (mr oct is saved to my pictures!)

    Posted by: brainiac_amour | Dec 14, 2006 3:36:02 PM

  19. (....oh yeah and mr july is kinda sweet too)

    Posted by: brainiac_amour | Dec 14, 2006 3:38:45 PM

  20. John, yes I meant XVI. Just a bit of typing finger dyslexia. Thanks.

    Posted by: andy | Dec 14, 2006 3:40:27 PM

  21. I must say "il Papa" has good yet edgy taste. Red is such a challenging colour, especially when it comes to footwear; yet he carries it off with aplomb like the true Fashionista that he is.


    Posted by: just sayin' | Dec 14, 2006 3:46:27 PM

  22. Here's Georg Genswein, "segretario di Papa Ratzinger" and alleged BF:


    Posted by: Hunk Alert!! | Dec 14, 2006 3:58:50 PM

  23. Disgusting hypocricy

    To my gay jewish brothers , don't be too proud .....orthedox jews are more than happy to stone, stab, etc us gays....They particularly hate you as jewish gays since us goyim really don't count as humans anyway in orthedox judaism, and their disgust with us is in our not being jewish to begin with.

    All religions are crap....all current monotheistic religions hate us gays.

    Toss all 3 monotheistic relgions on the trash heap of history.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Dec 14, 2006 5:13:10 PM

  24. Jimmyboyo - I'm one of the nice Jewish gay boys who posted earlier - I'm ready to toss organized religion on the trash heap, no problems. Monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheisitc, whatever ...
    All the same, while orthodox Jews can be as stupid and blind as other fundamentalists, and some really hate gays, you've got the goyim part wrong. Who told you that goys are considered not human? Some cranky old Jew? You know that "goyim" literally means "the nations" - as opposed to "the Israelites". Not subhuman - just "the others."
    OK - after 2 thousand+ years of a rough ride "goyim" can be used in a nasty way. Forget it.

    Posted by: Dave | Dec 14, 2006 6:18:00 PM

  25. First so others know what the Talmud is "The Talmud consists of 63 books of legal, ethical and historical writings of the ancient rabbis. It was edited five centruies after the brith of Jesus. It is a compenduim of Law and Lore. It is the legal code which forms the Basis of Jewish Religious Law , and it is the Textbook used in the training of Rabbis."

    From the Talmud

    Baba Mezia, 114b "The Jews are called human beings, but the non-Jews are not humans. They are beasts."
    Jalkut Rubeni gadol 12b: "The souls of non-Jews come from impure spirits and are called pigs."
    Hadarine, 20, B; Schulchan 9ruch, Choszen Hamiszpat 348. "A Jew may do to a non-Jewess what he can do. He may treat her as he treats a piece of meat."

    Babha Bathra (54 b): "All things pertaining to the Goim are like a desert; the first person to come along and take them can claim them for his own."

    Midrasch Talpioth, p 225, Warsaw 1855: "Even though God created the non-Jew they are still Animals in human form. It is not becoming of a Jew to be served by an animal. Therefore he will be served by animals in human form."
    Schene luchoth haberuth, p 250b: "Although the non-Jew has the same body structure as the Jew, they compare with the Jew as a monkey to a human."

    That is just some of the things said about non-jews in the Talmud

    Anyway; I am an equal oppurtunity hater of religions...I also abhor xtinaity and islam, barely tolerate budhism and taoism

    Science is the only sure religion, and one day our descendants will look back on us and laugh at how foolish we all were like we do to the people who once thought spirits caused the thunder

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Dec 14, 2006 6:59:16 PM

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